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(en) The Loombreaker #35 April 1st: Blair's a Bloody Fool Day!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 13 Apr 2003 11:38:35 +0200 (CEST)


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Blair's a murderous fool...
After the success of the day of civil disobedience against the
war last October and the huge protests of recent weeks, Greater
Manchester Stop the War Coalition have called April Fools day
as another day of action against war.
There will be actions in the city throughout the day followed by
a demonstration at 6pm from All Saints Park (Oxford Road)
> Week of action
So many different protests have been called by so many
groups during the national week of action form March 17th
that it seemed like as soon as one demo ended there was a
blockade or something else to go to.

Tuesday 18th:

Princess Road in Hulme was blocked at 8am with a tripod
for one and a half hours, causing traffic tailbacks to the M56
until 10am. Six people were arrested, charged with
obstruction of the highway and were bound-over to keep the
peace. The magistrate wished them luck with future protests
and the arrestees later vowed to keep the peace `by
whatever means necessary'.

Wednesday 19th:

Thousands of school children and college students went on
strike and reclaimed the streets of Manchester city centre.
Despite police attempts to control the protesters with horses
and batons, the students broke through several police lines
and blocked traffic for hours. One participant described the
police as `dumbfounded' by the energy and audacity of the
youths. There were twelve arrests and numerous reports of
police violence, including children being punched, kicked,
battened and trampled by horses. Manchester City Council
has expressed concern about the police behaviour and has
ordered an inquiry into the events.

Thursday 20th:

Students and other concerned citizens again took to the
streets from midday on the day war was officially declared.
Workers in the city centre walked-out at lunchtime and
protests continued all over the city throughout the afternoon
until people assembled for the 5pm Rally:

One participant reports: `The day war was declared I went
cynically to Picadilly Gardens to a so-called rally, but,
happily, speeches gave way to a roving crowd taking our
passion through the streets of Manchester. We picked up
people as we went, swelling to over 1000. Police tried in
vain to stop and split the crowd but people just kept moving,
taking detours, shouting and smiling with each other,
splitting and reuniting. The police seemed to give up as we
wended our way to Great Ancoats Street, blocking roads,
drumming, paint bombing the windows of M&S, Starbucks
and others, spray painting on billboards and road signs. It
was spontaneous, strangely both solemn and joyful... we
walked beyond dark then went home to listen to the news
and paint a banner for the next morning's blockades.'

Friday 21st:

Yet more blockades that stopped traffic all round
Manchester. In Hulme, the Mancunian Way roundabout was
briefly blocked by people locked to each other with arm
tubes. Police violently dragged them from the road with no
concern for their safety, injuring one woman's finger and
arresting three. Stretford Road in Hulme was reclaimed for 2
hours by people locked to concrete barrels. Local residents
danced to a samba band as lines of police looked on. In
Longsight, Stockport Road was blockaded for an hour, while
in Whalley Range local residents decided to have breakfast
on the streets setting up a road block with sofas.

For the rest of the day, hundreds of people attempted to
block streets throughout Manchester. The government made
yet another good use of taxpayers' money by deploying
hundreds of police drafted in from all over Greater
Manchester and arresting at least 30 peaceful protesters.

Saturday 22nd: Marchers rallied in All Saint's Park while
hundreds of other Mancunians went straight to the war
makers at Menwith Hill US Spy Base in North Yorkshire.

Longsight Stop the War- 07952 062 842

Whalley Range- 07810 097 766

Manchester Uni - organising meeting wednesdays 5.30pm in
the student union (all welcome)

Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition can pass on
other local contacts - 07760 224 580

www.manchesterstopthewar.org.uk

National round-up of anti-war
resistance.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, we could fill several
loombreakers with all the resistance from around the
country. These are just a small selection of the various acts
of resistance we have heard of. For a more comprehensive
round-up see www.uk.indymedia.org

RAF Fylingdales, (N.Yorks) - attempts to break in to the
base, one person arrested cutting the fence.

USAF Menwith HIll (N.Yorks) - 10th Jan Two people
arrested trying to break in to the base......1st Feb, Three
other people cut the fence, paint anti-war messages and
attempt to enter the base .......22nd March over 1000 people
"foil the base" and attempt to pull down the fences.

USAF Faurford (Gloucestershire) - Ongoing protests,
peace camp, people pull down main gate followed by mass
trespass, many other trespasses, over 30 military support
vehicles for the b52 bombers trashed, landing lights
smashed, runway blockaded, attempt to disarm the b52s.....

RAF Leuchars, Scotland - Trident Ploughshares activist
successfully disarms a tornado

Brize Norton - Oxford Peace Pledgers blockade the runway
for several hours.

Greenpeace campaigners blockade Ark Royal sailing out to
Gulf

Newcastle - anti-war protesters occupy labour party offices

Scotland - train drivers refuse to move military trains

Blackburn - persistent protesters regularly make noisy
protests both inside and outside foreign minister Jack
Straw's office .

Hulme - Bogus Terror Charges
Dropped

The four Hulme `terror suspects' who were recently arrested
in a high profile raid in January have all been released. The
`suspects', who are all asylum seekers from Algeria, were
arrested under the Terrorism Act but released without any
charge. They were then re-arrested on forgery charges,
accused of having false identity documents and were
remanded in custody to appear before Bow Street
Magistrates in London.

Loombreaker readers will know that life in Algeria is no great
place to be (see Loombreaker 23). In 1991, with the backing
of a number of democratic political parties, the national
workers' union and a few other civil organizations, the
military regime cancelled parliamentary elections that the
FIS Islamic Front for Salvation, the party representing the
Islamic fundamentalists - was poised to win. The
cancellation of those elections was followed by a decade of
"a war against civilians", in which as many as 200,000
people were slaughtered. Thousands of others have
disappeared. Although terrorist groups have also claimed
responsibility for horrendous acts, human rights
organizations have accused the military regime alone of
being responsible for the assassinations and massacres of
whole villages. Small wonder that many should want to
leave.

But here in the UK police operations under the Terrorism Act
are much the same as they were under the old Prevention
of Terrorism Act. Then thousands were detained,
interrogated and intimidated under the act before being
released without charge, with the media invariably losing
interest once charges were dropped (see Loombreaker 8 &
11). Only now, instead of being used to harass Irish
catholics it is asylum seekers who are primarily targeted as
the `suspect community', and helping to put the boot in are
those nauseous little creeps in Fleet Street with their contant
barrage of disinformation about asylum seekers, of which
"asylum seeker = terror suspect" is only the latest version.

* The government has recently lost a court hearing which
ruled that it was in breach of the human rights act for
bringing in legislation that refuses benefits to asylum seekers
who fail to make their claim for asylum the day they arrive in
the country. Earlier in the month a demonstration where
people were asked to bring food, clothing and blankets for
destitute asylum seekers was held outside the town hall.

The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
(NCADC) is a support network for asylum seekers facing
deportation. The first Saturday of every month there is a
meal and social for asylum seekers, 1 - 4 pm at Cross Street
Chapel, Cross St., Central Manchester.

Contact: NCADC (0161) 740 8206 or see www.ncadc.org.uk

Send in the Clowns

`Carnival as an experience brings into question, subverts
and overturns the hierarchical dualities that shape our
thinking under capitalism." Rhythms of Resistance.

There is a proposal to create an International Carnival Bloc
for the G8 meeting at Evian-les-Bains in France this June. A
carnival bloc is an inclusive form of direct action in which
all who dissent can participate with less fear of extreme
police violence. This is done with music, dance,
performance art and carnival as forms of protest. The No
Pasaran Network has proposed the creation of an
anti-capitalist village in the last week of May and the idea is
to create a carnival space within this autonomous zone.

There are preparation meetings in London on the 7th April
and 5th May, and a preparation wekend on 10-11th May.
Manchester contact is sambalaclave@connectfree.co.uk,
national contact xit@mymailbox.com, 07752 003528.

Manchester - Legal support, advice
and call for witnesses

Manchester Legal Support Group is an established group
set up by people to provide legal support for people
involved in direct action.

If you were involved in last weeks protests and actions
against the war, and were arrested or possibly assaulted by
police, useful advice and information from people with
experience of the process is available. We also have
contact details for experienced legal firms who may be
willing to take on your case. Also, if you witnessed any
arrest or police misconduct, MLSG will compile all reports
and statements, and make them available to persons as
evidence for the defence in prosecutions, or lawsuits for
abuse of legal rights. Call the contact number (yes, this
number actually works). 07850 787182

Environmental Consultancy Occupied
to Protest BP's Baku Pipeline

RSK ENSR is a company that doesn't often get mentioned in
the environmental direct action movement. Till now, little has
been known about them. However, their involvement with
the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, due to cut a scar of
destruction across Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia, has
drawn the attention of environmental activists. RSK is a
Bullshit Propaganda merchant for all the major oil
companies, plus other ethical multinationals such as Enron.
They conduct `Environmental Impact Assessments' to find
out what damage a proposed project will do to the
environment _ and then ignore it, paving the way for their
corporate paymasters to wreak havoc on our planet.

In response to such despicable behaviour, a group of
concerned individuals visited RSK's head office in Cheshire
on 13th March. Refusing to be
distracted by indignant
employees, we gained access
to `confidential material'
(apparently the fate of the
planet isn't any of our
business), occupied offices
and disrupted work, before
being escorted from the
premises by police. There
were no arrests and a fun day
out was had by all.

In recent weeks resistance to the US and UK's illegal
war on Iraq has stepped up all over the world.
Manchester is no exception and over recent weeeks
there have been countless anti-war protests from
candlelit vigils to simultaneous road blockades across
the city to spontaneous marching and reclaiming of
streets.

New community TV station for
Manchester

The ITC (Independent Television Commission) are currently
inviting applications for Manchester's Restricted Service
Licence. This is a free local channel, available to any
viewers in the Manchester area on a normal tv set. While it
is currently being operated by Channel M, we intend to
propose an alternative non-profit making station that puts the
local community right at the centre of its content.

We believe that as tv has become more about advertising
revenues and ratings ordinary people's expression has
been squeezed to the margins - a token half hour here, a 30
second news item there. Yet around the Manchester area
there are many community groups which need proper
access to the media. There are also many independent
media groups actually making films and documentaries with
the community and for the community with nowhere to show
them. The challenge has to be to open up the airwaves,
give tv back to its users and to produce content that is
impossible to ignore

We believe that access to this new station will be the key to
its success. We aim to train anyone who wants to get
involved - irrespective of how many GCSE's or media
degrees they have - to help run the station. This could be
anything from using a camera to editing, or presenting,
directing or scriptwriting. We will give people the tools to tell
their stories, highlight issues or showcase their art. This will
be real reality tv - informing, educating, entertaining and
exciting, blossoming from the grass roots of Manchester
society.We believe it's about time that cultural fair trade
arrives on our tellies.

We have less than six weeks to make this station happen -
we need help with fundraising, letters of support, business
plans, technical knowledge or just any ideas to ease its
birth.

Please e-mail us at stephen.kingston@virgin.net if you
would like to be involved and we will pass on the time, date
and place of meetings.

Apology

The loombreaker collective would like to apologise for the
recent lack of loombreakers.

There has been so much going on (mainly anti-war stuff)
that we have been spending most of our time being part of
the strories in this issue rather than reporting on them....

But here we are, at last we bring you another long-awaited
loombreaker - hope you enjoy it and there aren't too many
typos.......

Manchester Animal Protection

Manchester Animal Protection campaigns actively against
all forms of animal abuse, both locally and nationally. We
have recently begun pickets against shops selling fur in the
city centre, and have carried out press stunts against
Adidas (who make kangaroo skin football boots), and on
Valentine's Day we did a "Go Veggie" publicity tour of
several Manchester regions.

We regularly support national campaigns, attending demos
against the notorious animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life
Sciences, and the proposed primate research unit at Girton
in Cambridge. We have a coach booked for the World Day
for Lab Animals demo on Sat. 19th April, to be held in
Cambridge and are taking bookings for seats now.

MAP hold meetings on the 1st Wednesday of every month,
from 7.30pm in a room above the Town Hall Tavern, Tib
Lane, off Cross St, Manchester. Everyone is welcome.

We have a new phone number, 0845 456 2492, and a new
website: mapsoc.org.uk which lists all forthcoming events
and has reports of recent demos. To receive our monthly
mailout and diary dates please drop us a line at MAP, PO
Box 155, Manchester, M60 1FT, or email us at
info@mapsoc.org.net

April 2003

All Month Laboratory Animals Month

Tuesday 1 Day of Civil Disobedience Against War

Tuesday 1 Intro to Wheels for All - £25. 10am/1pm, "Wheels
for All" Cleavley Track, Winton, Eccles. Half day training
couse on how to involve people of all ages with disabilities
and differing needs in cycling. Info: Ray Pugh (0161 736
6366)

Thursday 3 Jews for Justice for Palestinians - 7.30pm,
Friends Meeting House, Mount Street M2Info: JfJfP (07760
127809, just_peace_now@hotmail.com)

Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 Reclaim the Bases - International
days of anti-war protest and direct action at military bases.
Potential transport from Manchester. Info: Reclaim the Bases
(email@reclaimthebases.org.uk). Possible transport:GM&D
CND (0161 273 8283, gmdcnd@gn.apc.org)

Saturday 5 Not a Grand National - Local group campaigns
against "Grand National".Info: Animal Aid (01732 36 45 46,
info@animalaid.org.uk), Manchester Animal Protection (0845
456 2492, info@mapsoc.org.uk)

Tuesday 8 National Circus Day - Circus Arts Forum have
announced this as National Circus Day so CAPS are
encouraging local campaigners to highlight the cruelty of
animal circuses. Demos at circuses, information stalls, letter
writing etc. Info: Captive Animals' Protection Society (0845
330 7955, info@captiveanimals.org)

Saturday 12 - Saturday 19 SHAC Week of Action -
Campaigning against Huntingdon Life Sciences.Info: Stop
Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (0845 458 0630, info@shac.net),
Manchester Animal Protection (0845 456 2492,
info@mapsoc.org.uk)

Monday 21 National Day of Action Against Zoos. Demos,
information stalls etc. Leaflets and posters available from
CAPS.(see above)

Tuesday 22 Really Big Blockade - Faslane naval base,
Scotland. Help close down Britain's Trident base.
Info/transport: Greater Manchester & District Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament (0161 273 8283,
gmdcnd@gn.apc.org)

Monday 14 - Saturday 19 Peat Week of Action - Info: Peat
Alert or Manchester Earth First! (0161 226 6814,
mancef@nematode.freeserve.co.uk)

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